Week Sixteen Analysis: With the Raiders firmly out of the playoff picture and an eye towards the future, Carson Palmer's on-field time could be very limited as Oakland would like to take a look at the talents of Terrell Pryor. The hot rumor last week was that Pryor could take some snaps, but that didn't happen and Palmer only led the Raiders to five field goals. With only 182 yards and zero touchdowns to his name against a terrible Chiefs defense, you can't expect a better performance when they travel cross country to Charlotte to face the Panthers. Carolina held Phillip Rivers to only 231 yards last week, and they've kept seven other quarterbacks under that mark this season as well. A poor performance, a quick hook and a terrible matchup don't inspire much confidence for your championship week.
Week Fifteen Analysis: Some call Carson Palmer a "junk time" quarterback. That's pretty much accurate. Twelve of Palmer's 22 touchdown passes this season have come in the fourth quarter while trailing in a game. So you have to ask yourself, will the Raiders trail the Chiefs in the final 15 minutes? Last time Carson Palmer faced off against the Chiefs he totaled 209 yards and two touchdowns, which is a somewhat disappointing outing for Palmer. It was likely due to the fact that the Raiders were leading for most the game and won by 10. The Chiefs are giving up a league-high 13.7 yards per completion, meaning 22 completions would likely net Palmer another 300-yard day. That being said, if the Raiders get up big, or for some reason trail by a few scores, there have been indications that we might see our first glimpse of Terrell Pryor behind center, making Palmer a risky play at best.
Week Fourteen Analysis: For as hot and cold as Carson Palmer seems to be, it might surprise you to learn that he's thrown for over 310 yards and multiple touchdowns in four of his last five games, mostly against lousy secondaries. He's thrown at least one touchdown pass in all but one game this season, which happened to be his first meeting with the Broncos in Week 4. The bright side of a matchup with the Broncos is five of the last seven quarterbacks who have faced Denver have thrown multiple touchdown passes. Also notable, Denver is also one of only two teams that has not allowed a quarterback to pass for 300 yards.
Week Eleven Analysis: Carson Palmer has hit a perfect storm over the last month. He's scored multiple touchdowns in four straight, and averaged 322 yards over that month. Why? He's played a bunch of bad defenses. And, he's usually playing from a healthy deficit requiring him to throw a lot. In the past two games, he's thrown 106 passes! His next opponent is in that same mold: New Orleans. Oakland's defense will be incapable of stopping Drew Brees, and Palmer will throw throughout the game against a brutal Saints' secondary. No defense has allowed more passing yards over the past five weeks, 352 per game! And, they've given up 2.7 touchdowns per game. Add in the injuries to his first and second string running backs, and we've got another perfect storm for Carson Palmer.
Week Ten Analysis: The Raiders are down to their third and fourth string running backs, so a team that already passed a lot is going to pass even more. Carson Palmer is throwing 41 passes per game, the fourth-most. Without Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, that number figures to be the absolute floor this week. The two times opposing quarterbacks have thrown 41 times against the Ravens, they've put up 371 and 335 yards. The Ravens secondary was inconsistent even before superstar cornerback Ladarius Webb was lost for the season. Without him, they've allowed multiple touchdowns in two of three games.
Week Nine Analysis: Carson Palmer loves throwing the long ball to his speedy receivers Denarious Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Only two teams have more 30-yard completions than the Raiders. And fortunately, Palmer has a perfect match as he faces Tampa this week. No team has allowed more 30 yard pass plays than the Bucs, 15 (!) already. That's more than Chicago, San Francisco, and Oakland combined! So, it's bombs away in the Black Hole this week as Palmer gets his highest ranking of the year.